Saving Private Rehnquist
Our off-the-cuff admission to having respected William Rehnquist drew queries from polite readers and expletives from most. We apologize for not clarifying our remarks at the time, but here's the short defense: You may hate his politics but you can't deny his style was pretty fucking sweet. A reminiscence at Slate contains most of the details that drew our sympathetic attention -- his gambling habit, his fondness for musical theater -- but how can you not find a soft spot in your head for the guy after reading this?
We had cheeseburgers and beer ("Miller's Lite," he called it) together regularly, and he allowed himself one cigarette with lunch. He invited us to his home for dinner and charades; I don't think I'll ever forget watching the chief act out Saving Private Ryan, crawling around under his coffee table, pointing his fingers like a gun, and mouthing "pow, pow!Drunk on the job! We totally understand the Dickerson decision now! As for the crawling-around-on-the-floor thing and pretending you're in the Army, well, dignity is for pussies.
We kid. Rehnquist was dignified, right up to the end, too, taunting reporters and issuing tetchy statements that had us believing he'd preside over the Court long into the Jeb Bush administration. And that is the real reason we respected the guy. That, and those kick-ass stripes on his sleeve.
Rehnquist the Great? [Atlantic]
Tennis and Top Buttons [Slate]